The workload varies throughout the week and the year but generally the vet is busy spaying, castrating, responding to emergency and house calls as well as attending to animals brought directly to the clinic. On Saturday morning there is an Open Community Clinic where the local people bring their cows, goats and dogs for free consultation and treatment. The vet attends to any animal brought in for medical treatment including donkeys, cows, goats, dogs, cats, chicken, rabbits, birds, and monkeys.
Husbandry: Maintenance & cleaning of kennels, cattery, stables and paddocks; Dog walking and grooming; Horse and donkey grooming
Vet experience (training provided): Sterilizations, vaccinations and soft tissue surgeries; House-calls around the island; Treatment of animals brought to the clinic; Saturday Open Clinic for the local community; Changing bandages, bathing animals, providing medication; Treating chronic skin problems; Nursing sick animals under vet supervision
Clinical skills: Perform spay/neuter surgeries under vet supervision*; Assist in more complicated surgeries (amputations, enucleations, etc.); Wound care and management; Splint/cast and manage broken legs; Develop clinical confidence by participating in consultations; Learn how to diagnose diseases without laboratory test facilities; Learn to triage emergency cases
*Student operations are not guaranteed but we make every effort to provide surgical experience- most vet students have the opportunity to perform several surgeries per week.
Free Time: volunteers have 1-1/2 days off to explore Zanzibar- local activities include nearby beaches, beach resorts such as Nungwi, Paje and Jambiani, the spice plantation, Jozani Forest National Park, mangroves of Mungooni and Uzi, yoga classes, and exploring Stone Town (souvenir shops, bars, cafes, concerts, clubs, and events).
Volunteers stay in a shared bungalow near the clinic with 1 bedroom (4 single beds), 1 bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room. Bedding (pillows, sheets, and blankets), electricity, and laundry are included. Wifi is not available, but SIM cards are cheap and easy to find. Food is not included but the staff are happy to help you find local groceries & eateries (cost is roughly $70 USD per week).
Animal lovers, Pre-vet students, Vet students, Vet techs/nurses, Vets
“I feel that the most rewarding aspect of our time in Africa was that we were able to make a positive contribution doing something we are passionate about. Of course, as students, we can’t expect to have as great an impact as fully fledged veterinarians, and in some situations we could only hope to watch and learn, but there were many times on this trip that I felt we were having a positive impact on the animals and communities we were working with… Upon our arrival, our host veterinarian expressed how grateful he was that we were there because, with our help, the centre would now be able to sterilize a great number of animals on the island where over-population—and thus hunger and poor health—is a serious issue. Similarly, [this program] provides community clinics each week where farmers in the surrounding area can bring their animals in for free or low-cost care and treatment. As the livelihood of these farmers greatly depends on the few animals that they have, it was very rewarding to be able to assist these people in helping their animals and in turn, these farmers and their families.”
– Amber B.
“On the first day we jumped right into the hectic life of a veterinary clinic, and it was a steep learning curve. Starting the day with cleaning the kennels and the cattery, we really got to know all the dogs at the place… We were quickly introduced to the veterinary side as well, when a cat with horrible ear mites were brought in, a cow with east coast fever and a sterrilisation quickly followed… Generally, sterrilisations of cats are the most common surgical procedure at the veterinary clinic. This means that not only will you become very familiar with surgery, you will also get to perform it yourself when street cats are neutralised. In the first week I got to perform my first ever sterrilisation! Don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous, while still having to control my hands from shaking and trying to remember everything. Luckily, as a student, you work under the careful watch of Dr. Flavi… Afterwards I was ecstatic – even more so when the day after could conclude the cat was still alive and doing well! Another important part of being a volunteer… is working at Saturday clinic. Here a lot of the animals comes in with simple issues, mostly needing de-worming, vitamins or the like, but also hematomas in cows, east-coast fever and much more are seen. As a student you will rarely get to learn that much, in such a short space of time – it’s also a once in a life time opportunity to pick a qualified vets brain about so many different species and diseases in just 2.5 short hours!”
– Catharina H.
“You go out and enjoy the day doing out-calls around the island. Take a look at all the beaches as you go and decide where you want to spend your weekend. You also do some surgery on the locals pets as well as stray cats to help keep the populations down. You learn a lot from the vet as he describes what the common diseases are on the island and how to treat them. And keeping animals vaccinated and dewormed is an important part of the clinics goals on the island. You give a lot of medication to help with internal and external parasites and vaccinations to keep animals healthy. You are always educating people along the way and helping them to better understand how to care for animals on the island. I enjoyed the Saturday clinic… where the locals bring all their animals for any treatment they need. It ranges from Vitamins, to hoof trims, to aural hematomas. Anything could walk in at any time. It was interesting to see cows, goats, and dogs coming through.”